Natasha Stoynoff, the PEOPLE writer who revealed last fall that Donald Trump had physically attacked her during a 2005 interview (which he denies), was one of millions who took part in women’s marches across seven continents last Saturday.
Stoynoff made international headlines in October when she shared her story of his attack, revealing that he made inappropriate advances while she was at his Mar-a-Lago estate for a story on his first wedding anniversary with third wife Melania. The Canadian ultimately became one of more than a dozen women who accused him of unwanted sexual advances during the campaign.
Stoynoff marched in her native Toronto on Saturday, and spoke to PEOPLE about how it felt to join so many other women on that historic day.
“It felt good to be where I grew up, to be with family and old friends and with my fellow Canadians, who are a very empathic, smart, enlightened bunch,” says Stoynoff. “There was so much spirit and positive energy in the air. It was magical.”
Stoynoff was one of an estimated 2.5 million people who marched all over the world to demonstrate their concern about Trump and express their support for issues including reproductive rights, equal pay, and affordable healthcare.
“The Canadians are very concerned about what’s going on in the States and everyone at this march wanted to show solidarity with their American sisters and stand with them — and brothers, too,” adds Stoynoff. “About 60,000 marched — women, men, kids, families, pets — it was unbelievable. The theme was women’s rights, but it was about rights, decency and compassion for all people.”
She says the crowd sensed it was taking part in something special.
“Everyone felt like they were part of history, part of a global uprising,” she says. “People were banding together and sticking together, wanting to make a positive difference.”
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She was especially moved by the energy in the crowd.
“I was so struck by the kindness I saw around me. It was as if we were all so raw from the previous day, weeks, months, and knew to be good to each other,” she says. “And everyone knew how important it was to be there. They were making a statement that could not be ignored.”
Related Video: Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack
She was also awestruck by the pink “pussyhats” in the crowd, and the way they took back control of a derogatory word Trump used while speaking to Billy Bush in a 2005 recording that was leaked last October, shortly before Stoynoff came forward.
“The marches were about human rights for everyone, but the sea of pink hats really brought one message home — and it’s that we, as women, are in charge of our own bodies.”
When Stoynoff got home later in the day and saw all the marches all over the world reported on the news, she says “I felt like crying … only, I couldn’t, because I was so happy. I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was a total lift. It reminded me that power was with the people, and it could be peaceful as well as strong.”
“It reminded us all that there is hope for the future,” she also says. “I was so proud of everyone. I felt like we all have each other’s backs. As a woman, I felt so supported. My favorite sign of the day? ‘FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!’ “